We noted earlier that Reds great Barry Larkin was to be inducted into the University of Michigan’s Hall of Fame. Well, that has happened, and it was the impetus for the re-telling of this fabulous story:
Larkin came to Michigan prepared to play for Schembechler, who had taken over the Wolverines’ program in 1969 following a stint at Miami University. The coach’s plan called for Larkin to redshirt his freshman year, opening the door for the Cincinnati native to play baseball that spring.
After a stellar start to his collegiate career, Larkin decided his future was in baseball – a choice he knew he would have to share with Schembechler. When Larkin told his coach about his change of heart, Schembechler told him to return a week later to again discuss the matter.
Larkin did so, again repeating his intentions.
“I thought he was going to jump across his desk and absolutely strangle me,” Larkin said, recalling a sit-down meeting he had with the legendary Michigan football coach. “He told me, ‘Larkin – this is the University of Michigan. No one comes to the University of Michigan to play baseball.’ ”
Larkin replied with two words, “Yes, sir.”
“Fine, you want to go play that sissy sport – go play,” responded Schembechler, who pitched in college at Miami. “But I can still strike you out.”
I’m certainly glad that Larkin chose baseball. (I’m also glad that his UM teammates Chris Sabo (hockey) and Hal Morris (I don’t know, surfing) chose baseball.)
I just wish that Larkin weren’t estranged from the Reds organization. Perhaps that needs to be the next Redleg Nation cause.
Bring Back Barry!